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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Feb;65(2 Suppl):704S-707S.

Sodium intake trends and food choices.

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  • 1Nutrition Department, General Mills Inc, Minneapolis, MN 55440, USA.


Since 1980 General Mills Inc has regularly conducted studies of the mean daily intake of 25 nutrients from nationally representative samples of 4000 American households (approximately 10,000 individuals). This paper examines trends in sodium consumption derived from these studies. Calculated estimates of both discretionary and nondiscretionary intake indicate that overall sodium consumption has declined since the early 1980s. Shifts in food sources of sodium have occurred over the 10-y study period, with the greatest amounts of sodium coming from meats and mixed dishes. Greater interest in the sodium content of the diet is predicted because of the daily value listing on the new food label and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's campaign to reduce sodium intake. Until an acceptable alternative for the salty taste from sodium chloride is available, offering reduced-sodium alternatives and gradually reducing the sodium content of existing products appears to be the food industry's best approach to meet consumers' concerns about sodium.

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